Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  WHUT  February 16, 2011 9:00am-10:00am EST

9:00 am
>> rose: welcome to our program, tonight we begin with david brooks of the "new york times" on the president's budget and on egypt. >> if the president does something on social security or medicare, history teaches us that if he takes a big leap out, history teaches us that doesn't lead to solutions, that's... so we're going do it step by step quietly and then take these steps together so it's him. he says you guys want some big magic moment. i'm thinking realistically. the question is, is this rationalization or strategy? and is he actually going to do something? if the republicans step out on entitlements will he say "i'm with you"? or will he say "you guys are going to take money away from old people" and run on that. >> rose: and continuing our conversation with remarkable events in cairo, we talk to shady el-ghazaly harb who just
9:01 am
met with the military for the first time. >> we did give them a call two days ago and yesterday and they didn't give us any new timing for our next meeting yet and we're beginning to worry a bit because, you know, we felt that we were just receiving what they think or what they plan to do but they haven't been very enthusiastic to know what we're doing. >> rose: we conclude this evening with dick cavett on his famous talk show and the art of conversation. >> lately going around being on your show i get the feeling i like talking on television and the greatest... the greatest advice i ever got was from my former boss from bronxville, jack parr... from ohio, i guess. and jack called me before i
9:02 am
started and said "kid, you know what i'm going to say, of course. don't do interviews, that's clip boards and what's your favorite thing and what's your favorite color and it's david frost and nobody wants that. >> rose: david brooks looks at president obama, a protest leader looks at the military, and dick cavett looks at dick cavett when we continue. kids to have more exposure to the arts. kids funding for charlie rose was provided by the following: or maybe you want to help when the unexpected happens. whatever you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer, or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com. take charge of making a difference.
9:03 am
additional funding provided by these funders: captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin tonight with president obama, earlier today he gave his first news conference of the year. he began by defending his budget proposal for 2012. >> what i think is important to do is not discount the tough choices that are required just to stabilize the situations. it doesn't solve it, but it stabilizes it. and if we can get that done that starts introducing this concept of us being able to, in a serious way, cooperate to meet this fiscal challenge, and that will lay the predicate for us being able to solve some of these big problems over the
9:04 am
course of if next couple of years as well. so, again, i just want to repeat the first step in this budget is to make sure we're stabilizing the current situation. the second step is to make sure we're taking on some of these long-term drivers. >> rose: the president expressed his support for demonstrators demonstrating across the region in iran, bahrain and yemen. he also defended the administration's handling of the events in egypt. >> i think history will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in egypt that we were on the right side of history. what we didn't do was pretend that we could dictate the outcome in egypt because we can't. so we were very mindful that it was important for this to remain an egyptian event that the
9:05 am
united states did not become the issue but that we sent out a very clear message that we believed in an orderly transition, a meaningful transition, and a transition that needed to happen not later but sooner and we were consistent on that message throughout. >> rose: joining me to talk about all of this is "new york times" columnist in david brooks. i am pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. >> good to be here again. >> rose: this budget and the battle over it tell me how you would set up a construct of what's at play here. >> i mean, i think this is a moral crisis, i think this is the number one moral crisis facing the country. just materially, if we remain on the current trajectory, by 2015, moody's may downgrade our debt. by 2019 we'll be spending $800 billion a year just to pay off the interest on the debt and more importantly the spread of
9:06 am
the entitlement spending is going to consume everything else. so if you care about education, foreign aid, it's all going to get swallowed up. we're now at the point we've known this all along, we're now at the point we have to make decisions and with this bowles-simpson commission, you began to see a real debate happening in washington. it was fun to be in washington the past couple months-- if you care about deficit reduction. >> rose: but it was also about philosophy of government. >> and there are two different philosophies and it's been evident this week. i've had a whole series of conversations with people in the white house and people... republicans on capitol hill and it is like going to two different countries. so you go to the white house or the budget people and it's... it's stately. it's... we're going to make some cuts and do a gradual serious way, we'll get to some us is saneable place in about five to ten years, we're not going to do anything rash right now but steady cuts, things we don't want to cut. and the white house people are really good at talking about the details.
9:07 am
so when they say head start, is the republicans would completely slash it out. >> rose: and we raised it by 2%. >> but we're going to improve it from this to that. regular head start to early head start. pell grants. they love to say, well, the summer program didn't work so we'll cut that and we'll improve some things for college kids that does work. son so on the micro level, the republicans are, i think, terrible because they're just slashing without evaluating and the democrats are really quite good because they're evaluating on the macro level it's the reverse. i think the president's budget in total is completely out of proportion to what the bowles-simpson commission said is needed and they doesn't understand that or they're not willing to take that step. and the republicans to their credit are. and for the first time today i think a significant republican internal dispute was resolved and this dispute or discussion was between eric cantor, the minority leader... majority leader now, and paul ryan. and rayyan said "we've got to do
9:08 am
entitlements" and cantor said "this is going to be tough." this week or today they got so pissed off at barack obama's budget that eric cantor and the leadership signed on the do entitlements. so they're at least thinking big. >> rose: so what are they going to do with entitlements? >> well, they haven't committed to anything but paul ryan, i spoke to him yesterday and he said "we've got to do it now." and paul ryan's been on the show several times and he's an even tempered guy. he's a principled conservative guy but i've never seen him so angry. he said "i really did not expect this." he really felt the president's budget was much smaller than he expected and he said it's going to make it harder for us to do a lot of the stuff we want to do because his numbers are so small but he was genuinely angry. but i think it goaded them up and so the republicans are going to be bigger. now, the crucial issue is how does this all play out? and are the republicans walking
9:09 am
into a suicide march by doing entitlements. >> rose: so what does the president think about the political ramifications of the decisions being made in washington that would play into the politics of 2012. >> well, it's quintessential obama. he didn't take a position at all on entitlements basically. but quintessential him... >> rose: or even the deficit commission. >> and they were pissed off. bowles and simpson came out and they were upset because he said to them-- it's been told to me-- he said to them in the meeting "i'll be with you guys. you dough what it takes, i'll be with you guys." and they feel "hey, he was supposed to be with us." but i think the president would say "i'm looking practically, this is how we get things done. we don't go for a cinematic moment where we all throw ourselves out there." if the president does something on social security or medicare, history teaches us that if he takes a big leap out, history teaches us that doesn't lead to solutions. that just polarizes everything. so we're going to do it step by step, quietly, and then we'll
9:10 am
take steps together. so it's him. he says you guys want some big magic moment, i'm thinking realistically. the question is this s this rationalization or a strategy and is he going do something? if the republicans step throughout on entitlements will he say "i'm with you"? or will he say "you guys are going to take money away from old people" and run on that? >> rose: it used to be said in this white house there was a great debate between on the one hand david axelrod and the political people and other people, summers and others. what does this say about his instinct for leadership? >> you know, i have to say i'm disappointed. he comes in promising hope and change... >> rose: and boldness. >> and i don't care if you're on the lefttor right. this is not change. if you think the government is basically fine but needs to be adjusted for some performance-based evaluations, this is your budget. i don't know too many people who think that, where they're on the left or the right. this is not boldness. and it's not that imaginative.
9:11 am
fine, he's going to increase spending on education, infrastructure. but he's got a lot of smart people who have spent their lives creating creative proposals to try out. where's that stuff here? it's not there where's the vision? what kind of country are we going to be in 20, 30 years? i don't see much vision. >> rose: but you believe he has the ideas and he's simply being co-opted by the politics? or do you believe he doesn't really have a sense of how to get there? >> well, i think, a, he's had a hard time-- like a lot of politicians-- saying "what's my vision of america in 2050." he says he's going to build a new foundation. a new foundation for what? and the second thing to remember-- and you get this sense when you talk to them-- is that their noses are pressed against the windshield. they have no time to make any decisions and when you ask a general values question, when you ask somebody how is this budget going to reflect your values and how is that different from republican values, it devolves into a discussion and i'm not sure they have time,
9:12 am
this administration, to really think in those terms. they should bring in outside people to bring him vision. >> rose: i was reading what books he was taking to hawaii for the christmas vacation, he took clinton and taylor brant and reagan and cannon. i was saying i wish i could ask david at this time what would he recommend for the reading list of this president at this time before he comes back. >> well, i've got a book coming out. (laughter) i would not recommend reagan. this bugs me. he took these reagan books. he is not... >> rose: and then there's a cover story... >> he's always had this thing for reagan. he is different than rig gan. >> rose: how is he different from reagan? >> because reagan you knew what he believed. big vague principles and then he would deviate occasionally. but obama there's none of that big principles we talk about. he's more practical and pragmatic. so he's a different sort of person. i'd want him to take a book about the first bush
9:13 am
administration, h.w. bush, because i think he has something in common with bush and james baker. sort of pragmatic guys, sort of level headed. sort of an aversion to big ideology. i'd want them to learn from what they did right and wrong. >> rose: i also think he sees the battlefield as only between the center and the right and the republicans. he thinks that the left is secure and they're not going to complain a lot. >> well, i think he's absolutely right to think that there will be some complaints from the professional left as they put it famously. >> rose: that's right, yes. >> rose: >> but there's no evidence... there's never been any evidence that the liberal democrat voters will not vote for barack obama. the other thing to be said is they have a distorted view of what the republicans are for. and this is... i've got a new rule in the last couple weeks which is any time a politician tells me what people in the other party believe, i know everything i'm about to hear is false. >> rose: (laughs) >> because they don't know. they assume an extremism.
9:14 am
>> rose: even at this stage when they've begun to have some considerations? >> paul ryan, barack obama, paul lou, the budget director. >> rose: but in the press conference today, they kept talking about the conversation begans, time to have an adult conversation >> i can pull out my blackberry and show you an e-mail from republicans saying "what conversations? do you know who he's talking to? " so they should have a conversation. he'd like to have a conversation but it's not happening. so far.... >> rose: what did you think of egyptian momentous historic event? >> i thought at times they were really good. and i thought his instincts were good. i think... >> rose: instincts? >> his instincts were good. and the core phrase that he pulls out from time to time that he applied in this case was that the arc of history... the arc of history is in the direction of this. >> rose: because we want to be
9:15 am
on the right side of history. and he said that today repeatedly. "i think we were on the right side of history." >> having said that, i have to say with a few punctuated moments i think they were behind continuously and when secretary of state clinton early on said mubarak's regime is safe and biden said he's not a dictator, when they tried to hedge their bets with fine calibrations and nobody noticed except for themselves, that was unfortunate and i think that couple things were happening. the natural tendency of the state department. i was having lunch at the state department dining room with a friend who works there and he said you have to remember what goes on in this building is 95% foreign relations and only 5% foreign affairs. and the distinction he meant by that is that most of what people do is make buddies with people who are members of the club with those in power. so they have all these friends in the regimes. and that's their job to make friends. so they're loathe to throw them over the side, whether it's mubarak or anybody else.
9:16 am
so the starnltd institutionally tends to be behind. >> rose: and they were getting pressure from neighbors calling up and saying "you can't do this it sends the wrong signal." >> the thing that frustrates me since 1974 when the portuguese regime fell, 85 regimes have fallen. the least stable form of government in the world and yet each time we act like it's the first time. we always underestimate... >> rose: like we've never seen it before. >>... the quest for dignity and the people in the streets. >> rose: why is that? >> this phrase i have is the par knowofilia. people think there's a small club of people who run the world and they think they're in the club. >> rose: we have to take care of our own? >> it's pro know ya, the opposite of paranoia. we think history is run by us and if it's not it will be scary. i've covered a lot of events. i was in russia and the soviet union and europe in the '90s.
9:17 am
a lot of things happened. people in power weren't in any of those events. in circumstances like that, the people in power are always behind, their information is always bad and they're not running those events and they should just say "we don't have that much control" and if we do that in the long run it will come out as good as it can. >> rose: so the new reality of what we've seen in tunisia and egypt and may see in algeria and bahrain is that what? >> well, we know a few things about human nature. i mentioned from '74 and i think it's important to take that time frame because it's popped up all over the world. it's popped up in latin america and asia. the philippines and now in the arab world and it's always very different in different countries the quest for dignity. it's the sense and a redefinition of people around the world and what it means to be a dignified person. and when the regime doesn't look listen to me, that's an insult
9:18 am
to my dignity. it's not democratic, it's am i being respected. i went back to these world bank reports to look at evaluations of the egyptian government. how good are they? a lot of governments get overthrown, not very many countries successfully make that transition. of the 85, about 25 were successful. so how do you tell who's likely to make it? it's the strength of their underlying institutions. so if you look at the world bank assessment of the egyptian institutions, they're about average globally. so they have a reasonable civil service. they have a reasonable education system. they have a lot of people in school, the schools aren't that great. on corruption levels they're about global average. the one area where they were near the bottom was on responsiveness to citizen demands. those bureaucracies were professional but they were not listening to anybody. so you're living in that society and no one is listening to you. and that's sort of what feeds it.
9:19 am
and the other thing that i found in different parts of the world i've covered is the word "normal" is always a big word on the streets. "we want to live in a normal country." so people have a template in their head what's normal and normal doesn't mean like america but it means it's sort of democratic and it's open. and you can come and go. and people listen to you. they want to be a normal country. and so when you get these people rising up and you saw it too when you were there, the expressions of pride. >> rose: thank you for coming. a pleasure to see you. >> rose: in cairo today, army officials appointed an independent panel to amend the constitution within ten days. the blueprint would call for elections in six months. the steps were seen as a sign that the military intends to quickly hand over power to civilian authority but leaders of the protest movement who met with army officials for the first time this weekend are proceeding cautiously. many of their demands have not been met by the ruling generals
9:20 am
such as ending emergency rule. joining me by telephone from cairo is shad shady el-ghazaly harb one of the leaders of the youth revolution that ended hosni mubarak 30 year rule as president. we are pleased to have him by telephone on this program this evening. welcome. >> thank you very much. >> rose: tell me what... how you see what has transpired. >> as a matter of fact, we just had one meeting with them and we considered it just... how do you say, a preliminary meeting, just to organize our stuff and no what they're thinking about and that's... that was all. we didn't tell them any demands, we didn't discuss anything with them openly, they just gave us a quick plan of what they're doing and we knew that they were planning to form a panel of the constitutional scholars and they
9:21 am
asked them to finnish ten days as they announced today. so it wasn't a give-and-take meeting if i can say. it was just mainly telling us how they plan. and we said okay, we need to meet you again because we now know what you're thinking but you need to know what we're thinking and they welcomed that. they said "okay, give us a call, we'll try to meet you again later this week." we did give them a call two days ago and yesterday and they didn't give us any new timing for our next meeting yet. we're kind of... we're beginning to worry a bit because we felt that we're just receiving what they think or what they plan to do but they haven't been very enthusiastic to know what we're doing. >> rose: so they're not that much interested in hearing from
9:22 am
you? >> until this moment we can't get this feeling. they just need us to... they have to tell the public that they spoke to the youth. and they did have one meeting but we're looking forward to another meeting to tell them what we think and what we think is the plan for the coming near future and especially that we have a lot of differences with them. if i may point out one or two difference it is first is the cabinet. they're leaving the current cabinet for some time. they didn't schedule any time frame for this cabinet to be changed, especially that most of it is fond of the formed of the former n.d.p. officials. and the public is not accepting that by any means. and the other thing... and from our last meeting they said they're not planning to change that any time soon, maybe three or four months which i think we
9:23 am
can tolerate. that we're already just for two or three weeks but not two or three months. >> so if you feel it's not going the way you expected, the way that everybody assumed, what do you do? >> well, as a matter of fact, today you are beginning to get this vibe because this is the second time today that they postponed the meeting. we asked them if we could meet them thursday, we're still waiting for an answer so if we don't get a meeting this week, we will get worried. and we plan... we already have planned that this should be a million gathering as well as tahrir square on this friday. and it was going to be kind of celebrateive for the revolution and so on but if we still get that vibe and we don't get
9:24 am
anything... any positive feedback we'll probably try to take it... step it up a notch and maybe start demonstrations from the different places in cairo. as a matter of fact, we plan to do that today again and asking them to stop this government from working and our most famous model, our revolution was that the people want this regime down. it's going to be this government down, the people want this government down. that's our primary motive and on the different friday. >> what's the most important lesson you have learned from this experience. >> well, the most important is that egyptian people can rise when we didn't expect them to. if many analysts have suggested
9:25 am
that the evolutionary mode of the egyptian people has long gone and is not coming back. but this experience tells us and tells any other ruler who intends to come to rule egypt that the people might seem quiet and peaceful and not resistant but at one time when he never expected they're going rise up in a way that kick him off the... i mean as the power, kick them out of the power. maybe this is the best lesson that we coming rulers should learn. >> rose: this will forever be known as a january 25 revolution probably. probably. but we do have a problem and i'm going to tell you about it. you know the former n.d.p.
9:26 am
officials. >> rose: yes. >> they have nothing to do now. they're out of their jobs and have nothing to do. so what they're thinking of right now-- especially latest secretary general he's thinking of forming a new party called the 25th of january revolution. so they're obsessed with the unipolar kind of... of the political system unipolar political system ruled by one party so now they feel the power is in the 25th of january revolution and they want to just seize that name and put in the a new n.d.p. kind of party and this has been going on since yesterday and that's one of our greatest fears now because we don't want any person to steal this date of this revolution because this revolution, it
9:27 am
belongs to all the people, all the egyptian people from the far right to the far left. whatever their ideologies, whatever their backgrounds. all of them have contributed some way or another. but what's happening now is that the same kind of system, the same kind of corruptive system that has ruled the n.d.p. for the last 30 years is trying to take over our revolution as well by changing its name. >> rose: is there anyone emerging as a likely candidate for president who would have the support of you and your colleagues? >> well, dr. elbaradei was supposed to be one but he denied any intention of running in the next elections for presidency and we can't see anyone soon.
9:28 am
i really can't guess now because maybe things will change within the next three to six months and there is another important thing i would like to point your attention to. this security council or the military council has suggested that they really want to quick hand of power. and that means that they're going to do a parliamentary election within the next three or four months and for the presidential elections. doing parliamentary elections within the next three or four months is going to be devastating for egypt. although it might seem that this is what we want and democracy is quick as possible and the military out of the picture as quick as possible but i beg to differ. because the only organized political institution now that can run efficiently within three to four months is the muslim
9:29 am
brotherhood. which is really a big problem this that we don't want them winning the elections and then the army coming back and saying, okay, we have to protect you again and we'll have to come again which has happened in different countries before like algeria for example. we're begging them to give us a chance... the liberal and the leftists to organize themselves because we've been oppressed so harshly by the previous regime we admit that we don't have good organization to any near future election. we beg them to give us a chance around nine months at least so we can build ourselves and make up for the previous 30 years. maybe then we can truly have a fair competition and a fair
9:30 am
parliamentary elections that we... that can represent us and i don't think that... this will not give anyone a chance... of just jumping over power again, just proclaiming he'll protect us from the islamic views of so and so. >> rose: do you worry even though there was enormous cooperation do you worry about the muslim brotherhood in any way? >> no, no. they are my friends. we did cooperate a lotover the coalition, our youth coalition, they are involved in it and without all of us this never would have pulled through. and they are a part of our country and they have to get their own party and that's if there's any other political party. but the things that we know, that they're the most organized because they have been running elections since 30 years or something like that and the
9:31 am
government has given them... the previous regime has given them more kind of freedom to work and organize themselves more than the liberal and leftists. that's really... i know that the west thinks this is... how can... but they used them to show the west that if they come to power, you're going to lose, the west is going to lose. that's why they kept them into a kind of-- what do you call it-- they used to scare you with it. so they had to be big enough to scare you. that's the... that was the plan within the last 30 years. so they are better organized so they have better chances. what we want is fair chances. not one political party having better chances than the other. we want nine months that can give us fair chances and the muslim brotherhood can have all the freedom to participate and
9:32 am
run the elections with us. but i think in a fair competition they're not going to be exceeding 20 to 30% but if it happens the next three or four months it can get well above the 50%. >> rose: thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> rose: dick cavett is here. growing up in nebraska, he dreamed of rubbing shoulders with come me dick greats like bob hope and groucho marx. after graduating from yale he started writing jokes for jack parr and johnny carson, then in 1968 he got a show of his own and here is a look at that show. >> i had forgotten when you came in we did the one run through, your first reaction to my voice is the thing i was remembering. >> i'll never forget my reaction. you take that, too? >> yes, why don't you run that and if it's... well, let's say you look at that. is it rolling at the moment?
9:33 am
>> i feel like watergate (laughter) >> this is a dirty trick. will we be sued by alan fund for this. here it is. ♪ ♪ a fine romance with no kisses, a fine romance ♪ my friends this is, we should be like a couple of ♪ hot tomatoes, you're as cold as yesterday's mashed potatoes ♪ a fine romance... (laughter) >> rose: how dare she! making fun of your singing. >> she's the judge of my singing. >> rose: would you stand for that are? >> no, not in a day. >> rose: so the dick cavett show
9:34 am
ran on abc from 1968 to 1975 and then on pbs from 1977 to 1982. since 2007, he's written an online opinion column for the "new york times" and guess what? he has a new book. "talk show is a collection of those pieces. i'm very pleased to have him. dick cavett back at this stable. >> you always get everything right. i keep watching for you to make a blunder like on "jeopardy" where he'll pronounce a word wrong but he never does. >> rose: here is what woody allen says. there's never been... notice how i love to read this. "there's never been a talk show to equal dick cavett. his guest list was miraculous, the conversations dazzling, and it's a pleasure to relive much of this in this wonderful book." this had to do with what? he's your friend? he speaks the truth? was it the time? was it what that made what you did stand out so well?
9:35 am
>> that's an excellent timely question because in recent months only and for the first time i've actually tried to think about that and people will probably say talk shows then, talk shows now and all that comparison subject but in fact i'm not sure. but we were talking about one of my d.v.d. boxes called "hollywood greats" and i thought katharine hepburn, bette davis, lucille ball,or son wells, robert mitchum and i thought what do these people have in common? a, they're all dead. except for kirk douglas. so the other question is-- not to slide off your question, i think, what. >> rose: what was it about the moment. the time? what is their... who are their counterparts today?
9:36 am
were they unique? you would say as they sometimes say what if we could have the founding fathers here. >> oh, yeah. >> rose: for that collection of wisdom at that time. >> and of course in ways they'd be a pain in the ass. >> rose: maybe they wouldn't give good interviews. >> and some of them were racist and some of them were... >> rose: but who would be the marlon brando today? who would be fontaine? >> it's a game you could play and it would be a gamble because this is not to say there aren't any great actors today, of course there are. there are people like robert duvall and rob de niro. plenty of good actors. but it's almost as if these people were redwoods. >> rose: who would you most like to be able to go out of the studio and have dinner with? >> oh, well, for dinner orson wells would be good. >> rose: he would eat a lot. >> he was never at a loss for interesting words. in fact, i had dinner with wells
9:37 am
in lu chow's huge old dark german restaurant. it was the perfect dimensions for or son as well as. he wasn't the ghastly fat that he became and he ordered and there was a plalt they are long and heaped this high and everything german except invasion that you could think of >> rose: so how has life been since you stopped doing that? all those conversations. >> well, i haven't yearned for it the way i thought i might but lately going around being on your show and so i get the feeling i like talking on television and the greatest advice i ever got was from my former boss from bronxville, jack parr.
9:38 am
from ohio, i guess. and jack called me before i started and said "kid--" you know what i'm going to say. "look, don't do interviews. that's clip boards and what's your favorite thing and what's your favorite color? and david frost. nobody wants that." i thought well, what does he want me to do if i don't do interviews? sing, dance? he said "make it a conversation." >> rose: and that's what we try to do here, a conversation. >> i think that's what we're doing. >> rose: (laughs) i think so. the last time i had a conversation defined it was exactly this. i have no idea where it's going, i have no idea where it's going to end. >> and you have the feeling that... i remember the first time i was so tense when i started a talk show i couldn'ter what the guests were saying! i'd see their lips stop moving and it's my turn to talk, what were they talking about? and they're holding a sign up or they took the sign away? what do i say?
9:39 am
and it was just panic. but when the first break through came it was with james mason, wonderful glorious guy. and the conversation flowed so naturally that i forgot to go to commercial and i forgot i was on television. you've had that. >> rose: all the time, yeah. there's also this. you forget who was on with you... >> oh! >> rose: that night at dinner. they say who was on and i have to think because you've done it so much. >> i'm going to try to jam in a quick johnny carson story. i'm on johnny's show, i used it-to-do it in new york while he was still here and i was a guest i didn't have a show then. whenever a cavett show ended he would have me on that monday and he deed a joke like "next time it's going to be armed forces radio for richard. >> rose: (laughs) >> this night the band jongny
9:40 am
had the band play extra loud. but he'd got the signal to come down a little, station break, richard... never forget who you had on and i said yeah, you had so many. he said no, i mean that night. johnny drank some in those days, he had a wife on the ledge-- if that isn't insensitive-- he had a lot of problems. he would pull himself together for the show but the staff would say "is he going to make it tonight? " he had gone home and his doorman was irish and said "who do we have on tonight mr. carson?" and johnny said "we had the usual four, we had... jesus. he couldn't think of anybody. >> rose: (laughs) >> and then he went upstairs and he still couldn't think of any and he was sweating a little. and i liked him so much that i wanted to help but i thought of something, i said oh, my god, i came home one night after a one-person show and somebody said "how did it go? i said fine.
9:41 am
they said who was it? and i said... stopped right there. my god, they sat right there. maybe 11 minutes to come up with the easily forgettable name lucille ball. >> rose: (laughs) you can believe that, though, can't you? >> yes, i can. >> the you that does the show is not precisely the you you that goes home. >> rose: you say that but i don't believe that. >> you may be the exception. >> rose: because you they the person who does the show is what? >> well, the person who does the show has access too what mr. brando called automatic pilot that gets you through when you're in trouble. it gets you through even when you're depressed and you can watch a show that you did when depressed that you hate to watch because you know they were going to come over while you're doing it and say "we'll take you away now and get mr. olivier some other time." and you watch it and you're fine. and i said to mr. brando, what is that?
9:42 am
he said "it's automatic pilot. we all do it." buter see why you'd ask the question because you don't put on a personality and funny hat. >> rose: i don't do standup and all these other things. >> you've dropped the makeup. >> rose: all of that stuff. groucho meant what to you? >> everything. >> rose: everything. >> well, let's say the most. >> rose: because you told me a story as you sat down about a letter. >> oh, dear. shall i tell that for the lucky viewer? >> rose: lucky viewer. >> we can't keep these things to ourselves, charlie. i got a letter from miriam marx, groucho's daughter. she was 81 at the time. she apologized for not thanking for for writing an introduction to her dad's book called "love groucho, letters from groucho marx to his daughter away at school." it's a wonderful book, not well known, worth getting. and she said "you wrote the
9:43 am
introduction and such and such and i've been drunk for 15 years so that took up part of the time i should have thanked you. she was very forthright about that sort of thing. then my eye dropped to the sixth line from the second line and picked out "my father thought the world of you." say something, charlie, it gets to me every time. >> rose: (laughs) that fact that he cared about you... >> a close up would show me lack rim mating ever so slightly. kick me so i can get back... >> rose:... >> as a kid we went to hollywood and i was ten or 11, i went to farmer's market, bought a chicken leg at that stand amongst that mob of people that are on all those stands and this woman had the poor taste to say "hey, kid,ish have standing here two minutes ago, groucho marx was standing right where you
9:44 am
are. and my heart stopped and i just thought, well, there is no god. if i hadn't stopped to pee or buy a paper or something i would have met julius marx, better known as groucho, and now i never will. >> rose: and you did. >> and decades passed and i did. >> rose: (laughs) >> but was it celebrity that you loved? in other words, was what you wanted to be and to do was to be a, a celebrity or, b, with celebrity? >> another tactfully good question. yes. i confess maybe here for the first time in public that i wanted fame. i had some idea of what was because believe it or not in lincoln i had met bob hope. he came there to do a show one night and he came down the steps afterwards the stage door and i had run around there and i said "great show, bob" and bob hope said "thank you, son."
9:45 am
>> rose: and you thought... >> well, 35 years later i told him that story an he said "hey, was that you?" i told all my friends at school the next day i was chatting with bob hope the other day. >> rose: but did you... so once you got the opportunity you got to new york and you had an opportunity to write a couple of jokes which we all know that story for johnny for his monologue. >> well, jack is the reason you're not talking to an empty chair here because i took the monologue to jack but it got to me when you said was it celebrity that i wanted which is not including individuals, just celebrity. i on the kesz there was something to that because i saw people look at bob hope as he came down those steps and somebody went "there's bob
9:46 am
hope!" and i thought since i'm a little awkward with girls and never really at ease in high school with and i don't always feel comfortable... not as uncomfortable as johnny did but in conversation, wouldn't it be great if he were so famous that you didn't have to worry about that? that someday someone would say "there goes dick cavett." it would be silly for them to say it now that i'm 11 but later >> rose: what is it you most like to hear from people today about the work you did? >> there's one specialized thing just saying you have given me so much pleasure. that's nice to hear that and, oh
9:47 am
i can't tell you, that show with groucho, that show with hepburn, that show with robin williams. somebody written a letter saying "my dad who was in the hospital hadn't spoken in weeks and they gave him a t.v. and he got to see you again." but, charles, maybe the best one is having talked about depression... >> i was going to go there. >> rose: i always know where you're going. >> rose: so transparent, aren't i? >> the people at home he didn't hold a card saying depression, depression. i did that on larry king and i did it on... i was in danger of becoming a poster boy for depression but when the first person says "you saved my dad's life" or "you kept our daughter
9:48 am
from suicide and it's that thing about celebrity and people would say "it's okay for cavett to have it or rose to have it or jane pally to have it or sinatra." >> rose: or make wallace. >> maybe then i should get help. >> rose: the betty ford syndrome but i've saved a few letters that are touching to read. >> rose: but back to depression. >> yeah, for some more laughs. (laughs) >> rose: soho how did you come to grips with it? >> i didn't come to gribs very well with it. the most dramatic thing was i went as long as i could in the worst session and my show went to london and i got on the concorde and fastened my seat belt and i thought no way. and the stewardess looking at me knew. it's interesting, she knew and she said you want off, don't you? and i said yeah.
9:49 am
my staff came back and i went to neuro12 in columbia. by the way, who's who had been in neuro12 in columbia. but we have confidential things in this world. >> rose: is this something you live with that is there all the time but you have come to grips with the recognition that you have this... >> i think it was the latter. i think it had always been there a little i remember years in doing the late-night show where i think i'm in this thing i get once a year that i call my dull head period. it wasn't full out depression. i wasn't on the floor under the bed or unable to eat but it was just... i'm here with ethel merman, we're singing out ♪ there's no business... full out and i see myself on the monitor and i just look like i'm having the best time and i feel like nothing good.
9:50 am
nothing that interested me interested me anymore. i didn't have fun... i'm not enjoying my chemistry set, i'm not enjoying... and if you're not enjoying your friends and you're not enjoying the movie and something gray is coming down like a hat pushed down over your eyes. >> rose: how did you come out of it? >> psychopharmacology, e.c.t. and shrinks. >> rose: (laughs) those three things. >> those three things. >> rose: drugs, doctors and... >> and... well, some call it witch doctorism. i just did a show with debbie reynolds and with carrie fisher and she said... >> rose: a television show or... >> no, a stage show in california. but it was like this, and big audience and it was fun and she... and when carrie fisher greeted me she said "hey, fellow e.c.t. club." electroconvulsive therapy for those who just got to this planet. >> rose: when you were there...
9:51 am
now go back to the earlier time. when you were there and it was abc you resisted anybody saying that dick cavett was intellectual, cavett was... >> yeah, i offended some people but i absolutely cringed and still do today when somebody... sometimes it was a european who moved here and would say "you're the only intellectual on television" and i'd want to say "shh!" because i got that reputation partly because i didn't know that you don't to read the guest books from cover to cover to talk to them for eight minutes about it. >> rose: (laughs) >> and i would read gay talese's 400-page book about the mafia and realize... but i would think say cavett reads the books. and then i was used as a stick to beat merv and johnny and they'd say they got no brains and cavett's from yale... i almost said princeton. >> you did for a moment.
9:52 am
a p was rolling out of there. >> rose: you saw that. and... well, thank you, ignore those things. they weren't intellectual. and nothing... i wouldn't want to watch a show that's intellectual. but the tragic part was if television thinks i'm an intellectual, so much for television. >> rose: (laughs) yes. >> have they ever seen one? have they ever seen paul weiss in the philosophy department? have they ever seen jacques bar snen i'm trying to think of people you bought on. >> there's one. >> did they know what it's like to see... my brain is not intellectual. i really don't have any analytical or critical sense. >> rose: what do you have? >> i have a glibness at times which at its best verges upon entertaining conversation and remarks and i can sometimes get
9:53 am
off an ad-lib pretty well. >> rose: very well. >> i learned that from jack and johnny. >> rose: did you really? that's a learned trait? >> no, that you can. let me take that back so i don't give hope to people who shouldn't have it. i don't think you can learn to be a comedy writer. woody allen has called it the strangest gift known to man as a kid he could write 40 new jokes a day for columnist in. i don't think you can learn that. you can get tips, you can buy steve allen's old books and get a little help. but, no, if you can't hear groucho in your head and word it the way he would say it and if you can't hear jack benny-- i'm going back a bit, aren't i-- you could... and you can't do it... >> rose: but a comedy writer has to hear their rhythm? they have to hear the tone? >> their tone, their sound. groucho's sound was so in the public hear that when he said...
9:54 am
"well, you certainly could have fooled me" he'd get as huge a laugh-and-as when he left the party and the hostess caught him leaving and he said "i've had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." >> rose: (laughs) there are thousands of these stories in this book. dick cavett talk show confrontations, pointed xhepl tear, and off screen secrets. >> the columnist in... the column is called talk show. and i run into people and they say "i keep running through the paper and i can't find your column!" it's online. >> rose: see talk show at "new york times" dot com. i promised mr. cavett, but he can come to this program and at some point if there was one person... think of the people you would like to have talked to clearly he knows some of the people that he'd like to talk to today. so i'll stand up one day and say ladies and gentlemen, dick cavett here this evening and his guest. and i'll be back in 53 minutes. >> wow! you may be my best friend. >> rose: i may be.
9:55 am
(laughs) >> the position is open. >> rose: indeed. dick cavett "talk show is the book."
9:56 am
9:57 am
9:58 am
9:59 am